Current Event Lessons: Storm, Quake, MLK

Posted by Big Universe on Aug 26, 2011 4:12:31 PM

If you’ve read any of my blogs in the past year or so, you know that I am enamored with many things…kids, children’s books, literacy and current events…to name a few. Just like planets sometimes align and make a bright light in the night sky, this week’s current events are providing a stellar opportunity to use real-life events as teaching moments.

Whirling, swirling, rocking, rolling and social revolution are words that come to mind....

Hurricane Irene is barreling toward the North Carolina coastline and is projected to travel through Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York and Boston. That’s a lot of nature to contend with, especially after the 5.8 magnitude earthquake that rocked the Eastern seaboard on Aug. 23.

(Or, was that quake simply the reverberation of my husband’s 50th birthday, the AARP card arriving in the mail, and the fact that we had just become empty-nesters?)

The roller-coaster ride also was evident in the stock markets here and around the world. The world of Libyan citizens is rocking too. Social revolution has a way of doing that!

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was at the eye of the storm 45 years ago, as he fought for social justice. It’s rather symbolic that the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial dedication ceremonies are still in the eye of the storm – thanks to Irene. Many of the week’s star-studded events have been changed by organizers after consulting with the National Park Service, the Mayor’s office in D.C. and FEMA regarding safety issues. The official dedication will be rescheduled for this fall. Organizers posted this Dr. King quote on their King national memorial website: “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

And finally, 91 years ago today, Aug. 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was declared in effect. It guaranteed women’s right to vote. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was a huge supporter of civil liberty. Not only did she actively work for women’s right to vote, but she supported racial equality and civil rights. In fact, after she was no longer at the White House she joined the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and worked with Dr. King.

These current events can serve as a diving board into deeper discussions in the classroom. What’s really cool is that Big Universe’s online bookshelves have books related to all these topics! While teaching in preparation for national testing must be considered, every classroom has some wiggle room and breathing space for branching out. And, Big Universe is there for you. Take advantage!

Pairing Kids Books & Current Events

For more ideas about using news events in the classroom, read “10 Ways to Use Current Events in the Classroom” or “Add Life to Your Teaching with Current Events.”

Topics: Reading Lists

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